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10 best moments from Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings saga

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10 best moments from Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings saga

With a new chapter in the Lord of the Rings saga on the horizon, it’s as good a time as any to remember just how impactful Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings output has been. The New Zealand director dedicated well more than a decade to bringing this world to the screen, and he did so with remarkable success in the original trilogy. Although The Hobbit trilogy is less universally beloved, and with good reason, it’s important to acknowledge that there are still some moments of magic in that chapter of Jackson’s saga as well.

The best moments from Jackson’s work get at something elemental about what makes this story so powerful. There are speeches, battles, and everything in between, and while this list does tilt towards his original trilogy, The Hobbit gets a few nods as well.

10. Pippin sings a song

Peter Jackson is often incredibly good at cross-cutting, and one of his best moments of parallel editing comes when Denethor tells Pippin to sing for him. The musical montage that follows shows Denethor eating a feast in truly horrific fashion as he sends his son off to what is likely to be his death.

It’s a moment that highlights Denethor’s cruelty both to his servants and to his children, and it’s also a truly sublime piece of filmmaking. Billy Boyd’s voice will give you chills, as will that moment when the juice from a tomato drizzles down Denethor’s chin.

9. Riddles in the dark

It may seem cheap to say that one of the few moments from The Hobbit trilogy that really stacks up to its predecessor comes when Gollum shows up, but the riddles that pass between Gollum and Bilbo are undeniable. These riddles are evidence of the difference in tone between the two trilogies, but here, Gollum manages to be just as sinister as he was during his worst moments in the original trilogy. Bilbo’s ultimate decision to take the ring and run off is what sets the entire story into motion, but even if it was a less impactful meeting, the writing and performances would still make it worthy of inclusion.

8. Sméagol finds the ring

The opening prologue of The Return of the King is almost like a self-contained horror film. We see Sméagol and his cousin, Déagol, fishing together on a small lake. When Déagol falls into the lake and discovers the ring, Sméagol is quickly ensnared by it and murders his cousin to take possession of it. Then, we’re treated to a horrific montage as Sméagol slowly transforms into the creature we know as Gollum. It’s a horrific preview of what’s in store for Frodo, as well as a reminder that Gollum was once not so different from a hobbit himself.

7. Bilbo meets Smaug

The first introduction of Smaug is not just a stunning piece of CGI, it’s also an indication of how central this talking dragon is to the story of The Hobbit. Much like Bilbo’s conversation with Gollum, his interaction with Smaug is defined in part by Bilbo’s ability to talk his way out of deeply frightening situations. The behind-the-scenes footage of Benedict Cumberbatch writhing around is pretty amusing, but it’s hard to deny the effect. Smaug is every bit as terrifying as he should be, even as he displays an intelligence that may surprise some viewers.

6. The lighting of the beacons

A moment that soars on the back of Howard Shore, who puts to music a thrilling montage showing a series of men light beacons to signal that Gondor has called on Rohan for aid shouldn’t be nearly as thrilling as it winds up being. On top of the score, what makes this moment work is the sheer scope of it, as we see beacon after beacon alight, and are reminded that the world of men truly can band together if the egos of kings can be overcome. It also gives us a chance to appreciate the beautiful landscapes of New Zealand, which stand in for Middle-earth throughout the trilogy.

5. Aragorn’s speech at the Black Gate

Aragorn assembles an army of elves and men with the intent of distracting Sauron so that Frodo and Sam can destroy the ring. It’s a final battle designed as a heroic sacrifice. Our new king’s forces are wildly outnumbered, but he marches into battle anyway. Before he does so, though, he gives one of the more rousing speeches in the entire canon, affirming his belief that the end of men will come, but not today. It’s inspirational and moving, and he closes it in almost a whisper, looking at the people he’s shared this journey with and saying: “for Frodo.”

4. The Battle of Helm’s Deep

Perhaps the greatest battle sequence ever put to film, Jackson stages the Battle of Helm’s Deep with such remarkable clarity that every beat of it seems totally logical. There’s plenty of humor to break up the pacing, including Gimli’s decision to allow Aragorn to toss him into an army of Uruk-hai. Ultimately, what makes Helm’s Deep so impressive though is the sheer scale of it, and the genuine feeling you have roughly two-thirds of the way through that all hope is lost. When Gandalf shows up, no one will blame you for standing up and cheering.

3. You. Shall Not. Pass!

Gandalf’s death near the end of Fellowship is the first indication for the hobbits that their adventure is going to exact a real cost. The moment works so well because it is both epic and utterly sorrowful. Gandalf gets to utter a few instantly remembered lines in this sequence, but everything about it holds up well, including the more-than-20-year-old CGI. Fellowship is the movie in the trilogy that is the lightest on the action, but when the fighting does break out, it’s some of the best in Peter Jackson’s entire oeuvre.

2. Sméagol talks to himself

Andy Serkis’s performance as Gollum/Sméagol is one of the great wonders of Jackson’s entire run, and Serkis’s skills are never more apparent than when Gollum and Sméagol argue with one another in Two Towers. Through simple editing and angling, we get to see a real conversation play out between the two personalities warring within Gollum, and come to understand how this poor, tortured creature thinks. Sméagol may win this argument, but we know that Gollum will not be gone for long, even though Sméagol tells him to “leave now, and never come back.”

1. Sam talks about hope

Frodo has the hardest job in Lord of the Rings, but Samwise Gamgee is the heart of the entire story. In a single speech near the end of Two Towers, Sam sums up the entire project of Tolkien’s work, describing the better world that he and Frodo left home to fight for. Sam talks about how, in the darkness, it can feel like there’s nothing else to see. Ultimately, though, darkness passes, and the sun shines all the clearer for having disappeared. He urges Frodo to hold onto hope, and we all weep. “There’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo,” Sam says. “And it’s worth fighting for.”

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FIFA 23 lets you turn off commentary pointing out how bad you are

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FIFA 23 lets you turn off commentary pointing out how bad you are
A player shouldering the ball



(Image credit: EA)

FIFA 23 might be the best game soccer game yet for terrible sports fans, as it lets you turn off commentary that criticizes your bad playing.

Now that the early access FIFA 23 release time has passed, EA Play and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers can hop into the game ahead of its full release. But as Eurogamer (opens in new tab) spotted, they’ll find a peculiar option waiting for them.

FIFA 23 includes a toggle to turn off ‘Critical Commentary’. The setting lets you silence all negative in-match comments made about your technique, so you can protect your precious ego even when you miss an open goal or commit an obvious foul. The more positive commentary won’t be affected. 

Spare your feelings

A player dribbling the ball in FIFA 23

(Image credit: EA)

The feature looks tailored toward children and new players, who don’t want to have their confidence wrecked within mere minutes of picking up the controller. But even experienced players who just so happen to be terrible at the game might benefit.

It’s not perfect, though. According to Eurogamer, the feature didn’t seem to work during a FIFA Ultimate Team Division Rivals match, with critical comments slipping through the filter. Still, who hasn’t benefited from a light grilling every now and then?

Polite commentary isn’t the only new addition in FIFA 23. It’s the first game in the series to include women’s club football teams, and fancy overhauled animations that take advantage of the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S’s new-gen hardware. EA will be hoping to end on a high, as FIFA 23 will be the last of its soccer games to release with the official FIFA licence.

If disabling critical commentary doesn’t improve your soccer skills, maybe building a squad of Marvel superheroes will. Although you might not do much better with Ted Lasso wandering the pitch.

FIFA 23 is set to fully release this Friday, September 30.

Callum is TechRadar Gaming’s News Writer. You’ll find him whipping up stories about all the latest happenings in the gaming world, as well as penning the odd feature and review. Before coming to TechRadar, he wrote freelance for various sites, including Clash, The Telegraph, and Gamesindustry.biz, and worked as a Staff Writer at Wargamer. Strategy games and RPGs are his bread and butter, but he’ll eat anything that spins a captivating narrative. He also loves tabletop games, and will happily chew your ear off about TTRPGs and board games. 

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Google Pixel 7 price leak suggests Google is totally out of touch

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Google Pixel 7 price leak suggests Google is totally out of touch
The backs of the Pixel 7 and the Pixel 7 Pro



(Image credit: Google)

We’re starting to hear more and more Google Pixel 7 leaks, with the launch of the phone just a week away, but tech fans might be getting a lot of déjà vu, with the leaks all listing near-identical specs to what we heard about the Pixel 6 a year ago.

It sounds like the new phones – a successor to the Pixel 6 Pro is also expected – could be very similar to their 2021 predecessors. And a new price leak has suggested that the phones’ costs could be the same too, as a Twitter user spotted the Pixel 7 briefly listed on Amazon (before being promptly taken down, of course).

Google pixel 7 on Amazon US. $599.99.It is still showing up in search cache but the listing gives an error if you click on it. We have the B0 number to keep track of though!#teampixel pic.twitter.com/w5Z09D28YESeptember 27, 2022

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According to these listings, the Pixel 7 will cost $599 while the Pixel 7 Pro will cost $899, both of which are identical to the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro starting prices. The leak doesn’t include any other region prices, but in the UK the current models cost £599 and £849, while in Australia they went for AU$999 and AU$1,299.

So it sounds like Google is planning on retaining the same prices for its new phones as it sold the old ones for, a move which doesn’t make much sense.


Analysis: same price, new world

Google’s choice to keep the same price points is a little curious when you consider that the specs leaks suggest these phones are virtually unchanged from their predecessors. You’re buying year-old tech for the same price as before.

Do bear in mind that the price of tech generally lowers over time, so you can readily pick up a cheaper Pixel 6 or 6 Pro right now, and after the launch of the new ones, the older models will very likely get even cheaper.

But there’s another key factor to consider in the price: $599 might be the same number in 2022 as it was in 2021, but with the changing global climate, like wars and flailing currencies and cost of living crises, it’s a very different amount of money.

Some people just won’t be willing to shell out the amount this year, that they may have been able to last year. But this speaks to a wider issue in consumer tech.

Google isn’t the only tech company to completely neglect the challenging global climate when pricing its gadgets: Samsung is still releasing super-pricey folding phones, and the iPhone 14 is, for some incomprehensible reason, even pricier than the iPhone 13 in some regions. 

Too few brands are actually catering to the tough economic times many are facing right now, with companies increasing the price of their premium offerings to counter rising costs, instead of just designing more affordable alternatives to flagships.

These high and rising prices suggest that companies are totally out of touch with their buyers, and don’t understand the economic hardship troubling many.

We’ll have to reach a breaking point sooner or later, either with brands finally clueing into the fact that they need to release cheaper phones, or with customers voting with their wallets by sticking to second-hand or refurbished devices. But until then, you can buy the best cheap phones to show that cost is important to you.

Tom’s role in the TechRadar team is to specialize in phones and tablets, but he also takes on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK.

He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working in TechRadar freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist. Outside of TechRadar he works in film as a screenwriter, director and producer.

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DisplayMate awards the “Best Smartphone Display” title to the iPhone 14 Pro Max

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DisplayMate awards the “Best Smartphone Display” title to the iPhone 14 Pro Max

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